Zeldin Calls for Expanded Vets Peer Support

zeldin pic

Rep. Lee Zeldin

Congratulations and thank you, Congressman Lee Zeldin!

In an election year where there is often a lot of political posturing and little policy substance, New York’s freshman Congressman from the First District here in Suffolk County made a strong statement about the power of peer support as a key ingredient in enhancing the care of our Veterans who have struggled with post-service transitions.

A few comments are warranted here to make clear exactly what peer support is:

  • Peer support is delivered by trained and supported peer specialists. Too often, people perceive it as just about “one person talking to another who has also ‘been there’.” Peer specialists have ‘been there’ but also receive specialized training in how to engage and coach people to navigate through health, social, emotional challenges, and more.
  • Peer support is an “evidence-based practice” under the Federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. What that means is that there is evidence that shows trained peers help to reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits and enhance treatment compliance. Just like when we seek a treatment for cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and other serious impairments and diseases, we want to choose among treatments that are supported by valid and reliable, research. This is also the case for good mental health care.
  • Peer support complements mental and physical health care. A central tenet, and high value, of trained peers is the privacy of the relationship and the confidentiality of the conversations. However, a common outcome of these relationships is more effective use of treatment options, primarily because people often become at ease with their peers to discuss their fears or confusion about treatment approaches.

PFC. Joseph P. Dwyer

Congressman Zeldin, himself a Veteran, knows the value of peer support. Veterans and their families (yes, families get peer support too!) will benefit in their own formal

processes and outcomes with an increase across the country of a phalanx of peers who work just to the side of this system.

It’s not just an emotional argument for peer support. The Congressman is “spot on” with expanding the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project across the country. To that end, our organization will be reaching out to our national mental health and peer organizations to help promote this excellent piece of legislation.

Newsday: Lee Zeldin proposes $25M veterans counseling program, February 14, 2016. Learn more.

Michael Stoltz has been at the agency’s leadership helm since 1990, first as Executive Director of the predecessor organization, Clubhouse of Suffolk, and since July 2014, the CEO of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness (MHAW). MHAW is the result of the merger of Clubhouse with Suffolk County United Veterans and the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County.                                                                                                                                             Under Michael’s stewardship, the agency has grown to one with an $10 million annual operating budget, 150 employees, servicing more than 3,000 people each year through its Ronkonkoma, Riverhead, and Yaphank facilities. A social worker by training, Michael received his MSW in 1982 from Adelphi University, where he has served as an Adjunct Professor teaching Social Welfare Policy and Human Service Management. He served as a Program Supervisor, developing and implementing the Suffolk County Intensive Case Management Program, as well as positions in management and direct service at several Long Island outpatient clinics.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Dwyer Project, Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Project, Peer Support, Veterans
One comment on “Zeldin Calls for Expanded Vets Peer Support
  1. Marilyn Oneill says:

    Enjoyed the memory of ‘Patty Duke’, wonderful day for many, thank you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Association for Mental Health and Wellness

Enter your email address to follow my blog and receive notifications of new posts.

%d bloggers like this: